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The Quest for Beauty against the Arrogance of Art

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Thanks to national policy incentives and the demands of consumer society, art is enjoying a peak in prosperity. However, the premium placed on artistic production today belies a lack of attention to beauty. Aesthetics – not beauty – has the stranglehold on our imaginations, illusions and representations – in one word, our phantasma. Aesthetics underpins the full range of human activity, from the investment economy to the fabrication of mass-media idols and the televised contrivance of alluring virtual realities. This article argues that art, to be meaningful, has to engage in a quest for beauty. But the further removed aesthetics are from reality, the harder it is for art to cultivate an idea of beauty.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Masahiro Hamashita is Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Intercultural Studies and Dean of the Faculty of Letters of Kobe College, Japan. He is an essayist and President of the Society of Aesthetic Studies Japan-Korea.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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